Namwon is a city located in the southern part of Korea. My grandparents settled in the small town after being married about fifty years ago, then my grandfather built their house by himself. When I was twelve-year-old, my grandparents updated their current house. Sadly, my grandfather lived in his dream house 3 years before he had a stroke and went into a coma. After two years of hospitalization he was finally moved to his home where he passed away. Maybe because of the desolate memory, I liked visiting their old house more than the new one.
I liked the atmosphere of their traditional cottage. The base of the house was supported with wood timbers, the surface of the walls was covered with red-brown clay and its thatched roof was replaced by new dried rice straw every year. My uncle, who is only 10 years older than me, used to make a joke that the house walls were mixed with cow’s poop. It was very noise when they had two cows, several goats, and chickens in the front yard. I would smell wood-burning from the kitchen where my grandma cooked dinner, and the heat from the fireplace warmed up the space under the floor of the bedrooms. When I went beyond the front yard I could see the rice farm stretching out hundreds of yards away. After harvest season nothing could stop my cousin and I from playing in the field despite the chilly weather. We went ice skating when the irrigation water was frozen. Everything around us was brown and dreary but our cheeks got tinged with pink from the cold.
Since I would only visit my grandparents during school breaks, I saw the rice farm during the fall season once. That was when my grandfather passed away. The field was full of golden plants waving in the breeze. It was such a wonderful view, but even the delightful beauty couldn’t comfort me. The bamboo grove behind the tiny town mourned in the wind.